Tia Maria Copper Project: At the Negotiation Table Again

Tia Maria protestsFarmers and government officials are attempting to sit at the bargaining table again today in Arequipa, following the death of a second protester in Mollendo, in the most recent violent protests against Southern Copper’s Tia Maria mining project.

Those meeting for dialogue, led by the People’s Ombudsman, include the minister of Energy and Mines, Rosa María Ortiz, Arequipa’s governor, Yamila Osorio, the Agriculture minister, Juan Manuel Benites, and the mayors of the towns of Islay, Cocachacra and Punta Bonbon.

The strike began in early April, led by farmers from the towns along the Tambo River basin, who are convinced that the Tia Maria copper project — just 2.5 km up the road— will pollute their water supply and their land.

The Tambo Basin covers a farming area of some 14,500 hectares, on which over 3,500 farmers work in small plots, growing rice, sugar cane, garlic and potatoes.

Tia Maria —which Southern Copper, owned by Grupo Mexico, has decided to postpone until 2017— was first shelved in 2011 after violent protests broke out in the Islay province. Three activists died in the protests then, but unrest began as early as 2009.

At the time, the mining company’s environmental impact study, initially approved by the government, was evaluated independently by UNOPS, the UN project services office, and the office made 138 observations to the report.

In 2014, the government approved a new environmental impact study, which includes a water desalination plant project that Southern Copper in 2009 rejected as too expensive.


  1. Joe Normal says:

    You don’t have to look too far for the cause of the ‘disturbances’……you can see the ‘Red Banners’ and shirts in the photos…. I suppose that the Senderos announced plan to revive the “Revolution”…is proceeding….sort of. Now they just spread lies about the projects, rather than blow things up. Either way, I’m sure that they’re happy that ‘somebody’ got shot…that’s their ‘reason for being’.

  2. A large mine site as proposed will most likely contaminate the watershed for a lot longer than 18 years of the mine’s operation. The mining company will try it’s best to contain the tailings and waste water, but accidents happen. Once the mining operation is closed out, who will pay to contain the waste containment ponds for the next hundred years.

    Only 3 possible solutions to the problem. Declare martial law and crush the local community, and proceed with the project, not the best choice. Tying to operate the mine with a very hostile local population, not a good business decision . Possibly the lose of the mine’s development costs.

    The second option would be buy out the local land owners, all of them. The mine will produce over 10 billion dollars worth of copper, during it’s life span. For 200 million dollars, the company possibly could buy out all of the land owners. Then the company could proceed with the mining operation.

    The third option would be to cancel the project. All these farmers have is their land, it is all they have to make a living from. They should be compensated for the loss in value of their property and the loss of the future earnings from the farms.

    • Joe Normal says:

      The ‘damage to the environment’ here in Peru was done by old government owned mining and smelting operations from the 1920s….and the ILLEGAL Artisanal miners, who pour mercury and other pollutants directly into the rivers in the Andes….which then contaminates everything downstream.

      There has NOT been any ‘environmental damage’ from the modern well-planned mines, and they, like Tia Maria, have undergone strict environmental assessments by “outside” experts, with no financial or other interest in the project.

      The “locals” are NOT the ones organising these protests….they are organised, and the violence committed by, the Marxists/Maoists who need to have SOME excuse to shed blood, their favourite “thing”.

      What the ‘locals’ ARE angry about, is that the TAX money from Mining, is being stolen by their elected representatives, Mayors, Regional Presidents, etcetera. A LOT of these criminals are now in Prison, awaiting trial. In some areas NONE of the Millions of dollars of Tax money paid by the Mining companies…has reached the “people”…and THAT is the “crime”…not unsubstantiated claims of ‘possible’ environmental damage by modern miners.

      However, I think that the Tia Maria project, and ALL other Mining should be halted, so that the people of Peru can see just where the money to finance their anti-poverty programs, their infrastructure programs and social action programs comes from. When they don’t HAVE it anymore…..perhaps they will understand.

      On the other hand, most likely the remnants of the Senderos and MRTA will just “make hay while the sun shines”….and the poor folks in the countryside, just as before, will be those slaughtered in the thousands by these “saviours”…..to make a political point. Just like in the ’80s, when 70,000 people were killed, MOST (not all) slaughtered by the Sendero Luminosos in the Junges….to make their ‘point’. Hope the phony ‘environmentalists’ will send money to support the people…as the poverty rate soars.

  3. LIMA – Peruvian police on Friday arrested the main leader of protests against Southern Copper’s Tia Maria mining project in the southern province of Islay, authorities said.

    Pepe Julio Gutierrez is accused of extortion and criminal conspiracy for allegedly soliciting a bribe in exchange for ending more than 50 days of protests that have left three dead and more than 200 injured.

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